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Lego motors and accessories, help

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I put this in education thinking that some of you have used the mindstorm kits and other motorized Lego pieces with your kids. I want to get DS a set of Lego motors and whatever accessories he needs to create things that can move, but I don't know what to get. He is convinced that he can just make stuff and add a motor to it and it will work. Is that right? What does he really need? We participated in a Lego club last year that had the mindstorm kits, but they are out of our price range. Looking on Lego.com, it seems like I can put together a nice package for him--individually, these accessories aren't too expensive. But I just don't know what exactly to get and how many?

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You might want to look at Knex as well.  It would give you more for the money.  Right now amazon has several motorized sets for under $10.  You can also get a coaster or bigger sets and use those motors to do other things.  


K'NEX Robo Strike Building Set


K'NEX Supersonic Swirl Building Set, 464 Pieces


K'NEX Robo Smash Building Set


K'NEX Beasts Alive Tri-Stego Building Set


We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE knex at our house!!!  Amazon puts the Knex education sets half price pretty frequently if you watch.  At least a couple times a year.  So like their $40 gears set (one of the things you need to understand to use motors!) will go down to $20.  It was actually just lower than that, if you can imagine.  The Knex coasters are funny, because they come in classic (full size rods) and micro (scaled down rods).  I got my ds a couple of the micro sets, just to let him learn with less pieces.  They're a little fidgety.  At least you're getting motors, chains, cars.  Google knex coaster and see what people have put up on youtube!  Or google knex ball machine and see what's on youtube.  That will BLOW HIS MIND!!!  It may be that everything he wants to do right now, he can do with Knex, and it will be more affordable.  You can watch amazon's daily deals lists and get things when they go on sale half price.  


I like starting with the kits.  As you say, there really is more to it than just here's a motor.  They have to learn about gears, connections, support.  If they build someone else's project, they get to learn that and then take it to the next level with their ideas.


Ok, now I reread and realize he has experience with Mindstorm.  It's true, you're not programming with Knex.  I think they might have something for that, but we've never done it.  But just for building and ENGINEERING, Knex is AMAZING.  It might be a different direction to go.  He could get a lot of use for a lot less money.

Edited by OhElizabeth
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The only motors I have experience with are those from the Mindstorms line. They require a power source and programming (on brick or on computer) - meaning you need the EV3 or NXT brick too.

M last week Lego education was clearing out their basic NXT set - $160 which is about half price. I believe it is because they are switching things to EV3, but you will be able to use NXT for a *long* time. There was an even older Mindstorms brick (before NXT) that is still supported.


All the Mindstorms bricks interact with Lego technic pieces.

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If you have some non-motorized technic sets, you can get away with just buying a battery pack and a motor. You really need the technic style pieces to make the best use of the motor.


If you don't have any technic sets, at minimum, I'd suggest these three items:




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Thanks everyone! This is helpful. He does have a lot of k'nex already. The thing is that we have TONS of Legos. Bins and bins that we have inherited plus all the themed sets that he has gotten for birthdays, Christmas, etc. He is great at building building things, and wants to be able to make them move. I will look at all the links.

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Ok--I looked through all the links. Thank you!! That Klutz Crazy Contraptions kit, we have a lot of those types of Legos already. Gears, axles, wheels, etc. What if I just got several power functions parts, like the ones from this set (http://shop.lego.com/en-US/LEGO-Power-Functions-Motor-Set-8293) plus a remote and receiver and an extra motor and battery?

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Would we need the 1/2 price software which is sold separately for the edu kits for $40 or could we just as well use scratch and then python down the road?

I am not sure.

DH, who ran the robot programming for our FLL team, says there is a way to use other programming languages to program the EV3 brick, but it also involves a software package. Even then it's C (or C++), not Scratch or Puthon. I don't know (not saying you can't do it, I just don't know if you can) that you can use scratch or Python. The NXT software programming is a visual snapping style programming like scratch. There are lots of pre made blocks, and you can do custom blocks as well.


Even at $200 (NXT and software) it's a really good deal.

Edited by Targhee
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